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Representatives of the Quilombola community alongside Tony Maher, Grahame Kelly, and Stephen Smythe.


Brazilian communities take on BHP over Samarco

September 29, 2023

We support Brazilian communities fighting for justice from BHP following the catastrophic 2015 Samarco Dam collapse.

Leaders of affected communities briefed MEU national officials in Sydney last month about their on-going struggle to be heard and compensated by BHP.

Representatives of affected indigenous tribal groups and Quilombola communities (descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves) talked about the devastation caused when the tailings dam at the BHP-operated Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil ruptured.

Members of the Quilombola delegation meeting with MEU leadership.

They described how the river and land they rely on for water, food and their way of life has been severely contaminated by toxic sludge that has spread for hundreds of kilometres – yet BHP has ignored their pleas for justice and reparations.

They are among 700,000 claimants in a class action against BHP over the impact of the dam collapse and are in Australia to raise awareness of their plight.

General President Tony Maher called on investors to hold BHP to account as though the disaster had occurred in Australia.

“We see a double standard in investor attitudes. We saw pressure from investors lead to leadership resignations at Rio Tinto over the destruction of indigenous heritage at Jukaan Gorge. Yet BHP has got off lightly over the consequences of its international operations.

“The message from these Brazilian community leaders was very moving and we support their struggle for justice.”

The Brazilian delegation also met with MPs at Parliament, met with super funds and investors and protested outside BHP’s Melbourne headquarters.

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